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Military Flags (U.S.)

Last modified: 2002-10-26 by rick wyatt
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Order When Displayed

The order of precedence when displaying military flags together is Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Except that Coast Guard moves up right behind Navy when the Coast Guard serves as a service of the Dept of the Navy in time of war. The basic citation is Department of Defense Directive 1005.8. It's promulgated down the line in various service directives. I believe for the Marines its Chapter 12 of U.S. Navy Regulations and NAVMC 2691, the Marine Corps Drill Manual.

Army comes first because it was created first--14 June 1775. Marines come second because, even though they were created a month after the Navy (10 Nov vs. 13 Oct 1775), some Secretary of the Navy accorded them precedence back in the days before defense unification (late 1800s, as I recall).

Coast Guard last, I guess because they're not one of the big four, even though they're 150 years older than the Air Force.

Joe McMillan, 22 September 1999

In 1972 the Navy officially changed to October 1775, which was one month prior to the Marines at November 1775. Prior to officially changing to this date, they were a younger service than the Marines -- Congress didn't authorize a Navy until 1789. In 1972, the Navy chose to make their inception date October 1775, which was when the Continental Congress authorized a Continental Navy to search out ships bringing munitions to the British. After the war for independence, the ships were sold and the personnel released.
Tammy Baker 31 May 2002

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